May 14, 2021

Global cross-Border Protocols on horizon for commercial courts

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Earlier this month senior judges from commercial courts from five continents gathered for the first time for the newly formed Standing International Forum of Commercial Courts. The purpose of the May 4 & 5 forum held in London was to develop protocols for cross-border collaboration and cooperation.

Representation at the forum was at senior judicial level, including heads of commercial courts. Sixteen jurisdictions were represented by their Chief Justices. Cayman’s commercial court (the Financial Services Division [FSD] of the Grand Court) was represented by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie and Justice Nicholas Segal who sits in Cayman’s FSD.

The forum was organised by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord John Thomas, who recently visited Cayman as guest speaker at the Cayman Islands Judiciary’s eight annual Distinguished Guest Lecture Series. The Lord Chief Justice spoke about the role that commercial courts can play in strengthening trade, commerce and development.

The forum, held at the London Commercial Court, covered a number of areas of initial collaboration. These included enforcing judgments of foreign courts; utilising technology and managing cases involving entities and investments based in other countries; prioritising arbitration and mediation in commercial dispute resolution; and planning for development and implementation of protocols that emerge from continuing dialogue and meetings.

The first order of business, Chief Justice Smellie said, was to establish a “starting point” for the Forum by way of understanding the existing legislative and regulatory provisions in each jurisdiction, and to gauge what each is likely to achieve in the future in the areas under consideration. The expectation is that the sharing of ideas may lead to the adoption and development of best practices and protocols as presented by participating courts, the Chief Justice said.

Profoundly, however, meeting the other chief justices from around the world demonstrated, said Chief Justice Smellie, that “we are of one mind,” adding: “There is no question that this forum will lead to very significant consensus around the world” on the subjects under discussion.

The next meeting of the Standing International Forum is to take place in New York in October 2018, Chief Justice Smellie said, when it is anticipated that working parties will begin to consolidate memoranda of understanding governing specific aspects of cross-border cooperation.

Chief Justice Smellie thanked Lord Chief Justice Thomas, himself a former judge of the Commercial Court in London, for initiating the forum.

The meeting was held at the Rolls Building, the centre for the London Commercial Court.

Lord Thomas hosted guests on 4 May at a reception and dinner at the Locarno Suite at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. At other points during the programme, guests were received at Middle Temple and at the Royal Courts of Justice.

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